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Sun May 29, 2022, 01:37 AM

Why the "Cool Dictator" of El Salvador Went All-In on Bitcoin

Nayib Bukele’s crypto bet wasn’t visionary. It was desperate.

Michael Ahn Paarlberg

The first indication from El Salvador’s extremely online president Nayib Bukele that his country’s experiment with Bitcoin was not going well came the second week of May, in typical fashion, on Twitter. But this time it was uncharacteristically subtle: He briefly removed the red laser eyes from his avi.

The laser eyes motif, adopted by many a crypto bro on social media, had marked Bukele as a true believer. It dovetailed well with the 40-year-old’s carefully crafted public image of a hip, young, tech-savvy entrepreneur-president, which extended to his sartorial style of shades, baseball caps, and leather jackets. If this conflicted with his other image – that of an autocrat who has locked up 30,000 people in the past month and a half – his crypto fans seemed not to notice or care. Bukele would alternately identify himself on Twitter as “CEO of El Salvador,” “the world’s coolest president,” and “the coolest dictator in the whole world.”

Bukele had gone all-in on Bitcoin, turning an entire country into a cryptocurrency laboratory. Despite polls showing a clear majority of the public opposing this, the Legislative Assembly, controlled by his allies, passed a law with nearly no debate naming Bitcoin legal tender, alongside the US dollar, which El Salvador adopted in 2001. Advised by Strike CEO Jack Mallers, Bukele’s government rolled out a digital crypto wallet in app form, called Chivo (Salvadoran slang for cool), which came preloaded with $30 of Bitcoin to encourage adoption.

Many who downloaded it found it confusing and buggy, or that their $30 had already been stolen by identity thieves. A study by economists at the University of Chicago, Penn State and Yale found that of those who managed to access it, most cashed out their $30 and didn’t use Chivo again. One of them, Chicago’s Fernando Álvarez, told the tech site Rest of World, “There is no experiment where a currency was introduced with such strong incentives and it still failed.”


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Reply Why the "Cool Dictator" of El Salvador Went All-In on Bitcoin (Original post)
Judi Lynn May 29 OP
Crowman2009 May 29 #1
LessAspin May 29 #2

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Sun May 29, 2022, 08:31 AM

1. Soon to be another dead dictator.

Don't be surprised if he's full of bullet holes a few years from now.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Sun May 29, 2022, 03:20 PM

2. Will Bitcoin Ruin El Salvador?

Here's a good podcast from Slate about this..

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